How to make good decisions,
with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
James Manktelow: Hello, I'm James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free, career-boosting tools and resources.
Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools.
Chances are, you make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions every week.
They can range from very simple decisions, like what to wear to work, to complex and important decisions, like whether to launch a new product.
JM: When you have to make a difficult decision, you need to consider many competing factors, such as the consequences and complexity of the decision, and your alternatives.
This can feel overwhelming at times. That is, unless you use a logical, step-by-step process to help you sort through all of these different factors.
AC: There are six steps to making an effective decision.
The first is to create a constructive environment. To do this, make sure that you've got the right people involved, and that you allow everyone's opinion to be heard.
You also need ask enough questions to ensure that you're looking at the real issues.
JM: Your next step is to brainstorm as many good alternatives as you can. This is critical in making sure that you've explored all of your options.
The more of these that you explore, the likelier you are to make the best decision.
Be aware though, that there can sometimes be a number of problems associated with traditional brainstorming.
AC: Step three is to explore your alternatives.
Here you need to look at the risks and implications of all of the ideas that you've generated so far.
A helpful tool to use in this step is Six Thinking Hats . This technique enables you to look at possible consequences from six very different perspectives.
JM: In step four, you need to choose the best alternative.
This step can be confusing because there may be many different factors involved in your decision, and they may not have the same weight or importance.
Using a tool like Grid Analysis at this stage is useful, because it helps you to take all of these different factors into account when making your final decision.
AC: Next you need to check your decision to make sure that you've been thorough, and that errors haven't crept into your decision-making.
You can use the Ladder of Inference tool here to see if you've jumped to any conclusions during the decision-making process.
This tool is useful because it allows you to validate the steps that you took to get to your decision.
Also, test your decision against your intuition, just in case this highlights something that you haven't considered.
JM: Finally, step six is to take action.
As part of this, you may want to explain why you've made the decision, especially to those who will be affected by any change.
You can discover more about the decision making process, and the tools that help you to make better decisions, in the article that accompanies this video.